Despite the disappointing result, Erik ten Hag took a moment to praise the performances of several players in Manchester United’s loss to Brighton. Notably, Hannibal Mejbri, Diogo Dalot, Marcus Rashford, and Rasmus Hojlund received commendation from the manager.
The Seagulls outclassed the Red Devils throughout the match, leaving United in 13th place on the Premier League table after losing three of their first five games. Brighton established a commanding 3-0 lead over the hosts by the 70th minute.
Goals from Danny Welbeck, Pascal Gross, and Joao Pedro sealed the win for the visitors, making it a frustrating day for United. Mejbri, who came on as a substitute, scored an impressive goal from outside the box in the 73rd minute. Ten Hag was pleased with Mejbri’s impact and also highlighted the strong performances of Dalot, Rashford, and Hojlund.
Regarding Mejbri, Ten Hag stated, “He did what we brought him [on] for, having an impact and bringing energy. He did it.” He continued, “I think there were more individuals, like Diogo Dalot, [who] played very well, and Marcus Rashford had moments. Rasmus Hojlund was a threat all the time. We had some good players on the pitch. We were unlucky, unfortunate. We didn’t get what we were looking for, and that was the result.”
Ten Hag’s decision to substitute Hojlund just after the hour mark, during the Dane’s full debut for United, was met with boos from the home crowd. However, Ten Hag was not concerned about the reaction. He explained, “I think it was positive; you see that the fans in the first moment in Old Trafford, the reception for him was great. I think he performed very well. So I think it’s good that they give him this signal, this message. It will give him belief, Rasmus.”
He also mentioned, “But everyone knows he came in with a small issue, we built him over the past three, four weeks, he’s not ready for a whole game. And we have many games to play [at] short notice, so yeah, we have to build him also in fitness.”
Reflecting on the match, Ten Hag acknowledged, “I think today as well, we played well in the first half. You analyze that first half, it’s crazy. I think we started well, we created chances, and on the second attack for them and first chance, it’s in. Then we have to do better; we have to deal with that setback.”
He emphasized the importance of character, stating, “It’s about character, and now we have to see how strong we are and how the team sticks together, and which players are standing up, show the character and lead the team because in all the games, all the games we have seen we can play very well.”